Each week we have 2 nearly solid days (9 am-2pm) of “school” work, where we do our best to stick to a schedule that, for the new year looks something like this:
Spelling: we use “Sequential Spelling”
Drawing: a group activity using the book “Drawing With Children” by Mona Brooks (mixed reviews here–though it could be my presentation, not the book, that’s the main problem. We may scrap this soon and just have quiet drawing time).
Keyboarding: (with Keyboarding Without Tears)
Reading: the big kids each choose pretty much any book and read aloud to Kale and me. Later in the day I read aloud from an ongoing chapter book. Of course bedtime stories too.
Math: right now we’re working on memorizing multiplication tables. Boring.
Writing: these days the big kids each do a page of copy work, for spelling, punctuation, and handwriting practice. They can always choose to write and correct their own stories if they want.
And Music lessons: voice for Wy and Piano for Juni.
Here and there between lessons there’s picture books being read, art being made, lots of zooming around on the “swivel car”, listening to music, arguing, snacking, etc. During this time Kale plays on his own, participates as he wants, or does some of his own work. Its pretty much up to him.
Aside from these “school” days, we have a handful of social/academic happenings away from home. On those busy days, which may have us driving here and there or bopping about town between lessons etc., we also find chunks of unstructured time at home, mainly mornings and late afternoons. These in-between chunks used to be my least favorite parts of the week. They felt scattered and empty, a waste of time. But, I realize they are becoming one of the favorite times. It most likely has to do with the kids getting older, that instead of being crabby, whiny transitions these spaces have become valuable free time.
There is of course the requisite settling in time that happens after being out for the morning. A bit of grumpiness, tending the wood stove, collecting the eggs, washing a few dishes, picking a fight with your brother, you know how it goes. But then, mindful that the day is coming to a close and the evening routine will begin, they get down to work–by work I mean play, their most important work.
These are the times when my kids create; tucking themselves away in their rooms for Playmobil or lego building, tinkering at the work table, creating sic beats on “Garage Band”, Pod-casting, sewing, pretend play of all sorts, drawing, and movie making.
I know there will be a shift before too long, but at least at the stages they are now (particularly the older two) having these free pockets a midst more structured time and clear work expectations creates a nice balance for diving right into their projects.
The kids are better at this than me. I’m learning from them to make the most of these moments rather than let them slip away. And, as the people around me are more and more occupied with their own work, so to do I find more space. Bit by bit I’m learning to gather up these minutes as they appear, and weave them into my own meaningful time.